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If you’re a budding healthcare practitioner, such as a nurse, and you are about to start or are already enrolled in a study program, you probably have a lot of questions.

Some of these may be related to the clinical instruction component of your course and what you will be able to learn from it.

What can you expect from the practical side of your program during placements, rotations and residencies? Here is a look at the answers to many common questions about clinical instruction and how you can take advantage of practical teaching in a nursing program that is tailored to your unique needs.

What is clinical instruction?

Clinical instruction or education is an essential tool in training healthcare professionals such as the nurses of tomorrow and laying the foundations for what is often a career for life.

The definition of clinical instruction is teaching that is focused on patients and their medical issues. It can involve students observing educators or practicing skills under observation. These skills might include taking histories from patients, performing physical examinations, and undertaking procedures such as wound dressing, drawing blood and taking blood pressure readings.

In a clinical environment, students can also learn “soft skills” such as communication between healthcare professionals and with patients and their loved ones, teamwork and decision-making.

In the field of nursing, there are many opportunities for students to experience clinical instruction and teaching. A typical nursing degree will include clinical rotations or placements, offering students the chance to experience working in a variety of healthcare settings, caring for real patients with their own unique needs.

An accredited nursing program may also offer residency, which is an intensive period in a healthcare setting that will give students scope to combine additional learning with intensive hands-on care.

This instruction is provided by nurse educators or instructors, who are experienced professionals with a passion for sharing their knowledge and expertise with others and watching the nurses of the future grow and thrive.

What can student nurses learn from clinical instruction?

Clinical instruction offers students a chance to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to real-life medical scenarios.

This means they will learn practical skills we touched on earlier, such as:

  • Examining patients
  • Communicating with patients and their families
  • Carrying out observational tasks such as measuring heart rate or blood pressure
  • Performing tasks such as dressing wounds and administering medication
  • Helping patients with personal care and feeding
  • Listening to patients and advocating for their needs

In addition to these and other essential tasks, student nurses will gain valuable insight into their future career path during clinical instruction experiences.

For example, the opportunity to work in a variety of settings means that a student nurse can identify which area of nursing they wish to specialize in.

It also means student nurses will learn the value of adaptability, working as part of a team and flexing to the unique needs of their patients.

The relationship with the nurse educator is also another essential feature of clinical instruction. Student nurses learn and grow from spending time with and being supported by senior nurses who have a wealth of experience to offer.

How can I benefit from clinical instruction?

If you are interested in a career as a nurse, clinical instruction will form an integral part of your program of study. To take advantage of this valuable learning experience, you’ll first have to apply to an appropriate and accredited nursing program.

If you’re completely new to higher education, this will typically be an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BDN).

If you already have a degree in a different field and are thinking about switching careers, you’re not alone. According to the global data platform Statista, 51% of Americans change jobs every one to five years.

If you’re ready for a change in direction, you can apply for an accelerated learning program that will enable you to build on your existing skills and study nursing in a shorter time frame than usual. Graduates with degrees in non-nursing fields can apply for accelerated nursing programs in Missouri from Rockhurst University, which offers a number of degrees online for those in the Midwest and further afield. The university’s Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) offers the chance to study online, combined with a 10-day on-campus residency and clinical placements that offer quality instruction from experienced nurse educators.

This format offers the best of both worlds, with the convenience of studying from your chosen location at a time that suits you with the hands-on clinical instruction and experience you need to practice confidently as a nurse. This accredited course prepares candidates for the NCLEX examination, which allows you to practice as a registered nurse.

If you are looking for a career change and the combination of theory and clinical practice that nursing offers, this course is an excellent choice.

Designed for candidates like you

Clinical instruction is a vital part of training the nurses of tomorrow, especially because it is delivered by experienced nurse educators who have already walked in their students’ shoes. This means they can offer relevant and relatable teaching, which will add an additional dimension to the learning experience.

If you are hoping to start your nursing studies after already earning a degree in a different area, online ABSN programs can help you meet your goals. Not only does clinical instruction aid students who are new to the medical sector, it also ensures that all students know current information on diseases, diagnoses and patient care. As a result, studying for a degree that offers clinical instruction can ensure that the wider community has access to better healthcare. 

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